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West Virginia spay/neuter program may be ready in 2015

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West Virginia’s new spay/neuter program will open for business no sooner than the spring of 2015, according to a government spokesman.

Although a bill creating the program was signed into law on May 1, 2013, or almost eight months ago, two major hurdles still need to be cleared. The state Department of Agriculture, which is administering the pet sterilization initiative, has to submit program rules to a legislative review panel in the summer of 2014, department spokesman Buddy Davidson told Examiner.com Dec. 19. The rules will then need to be voted on during the 2015 legislative session.

Asked when the program will become operational, Davidson replied that it is "hard to say for certain" and "would depend on the rules and practical considerations. But I think it’s safe to say it will be up and running no earlier than spring 2015."

The program is supposed to help low-income residents spay and neuter their pets, thereby reducing the number of unwanted cats and dogs in the state. In 2011, 77,000 companion animals were killed in shelters in the state, according to the Federation of Humane Organizations of West Virginia.

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